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Author Topic: another "why did they die"  (Read 3000 times)
rgy
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« on: March 15, 2011, 03:23:16 PM »

two weeks ago both of my hives were alive and well, yesterday one is dead.  I thought I had licked out as a newbee and was going to make it through my first winter at 100% survival. 

I had elevated the back of top cover by about 3/16 of an inch to try and get ventilation and snow run off and I had drilled a 3/4" hole in the upper brood box.  When I went out two weeks ago on a mid 40's day, the area around the upper entrance and an area where the top was elevated were covered in runny poop.  It was like the bees were backing up to the opening at letting it rip.

Yesterday I opened it up and a lot of dead on the top inner cover, losts of fecal on the top inner cover and all around the inner cover hole and on the top of the frames under that hole.  (I have to figure out how to post pics.)

There is plenty of stores left and lots of brood!!  One frame had 1/2 brood and several others had at least a 1/4 brood.  the middle frames were empty.  some brood on the far other side of the box.

I have pictures of this.  I am wondering what I should have done or what you think killed my great hive.

thanks bob
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Acebird
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2011, 04:32:10 PM »

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I had elevated the back of top cover by about 3/16 of an inch to try and get ventilation and snow run off and I had drilled a 3/4" hole in the upper brood box.

When and why?  Did you see evidence of ice on the cover?
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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2011, 07:14:01 PM »

post the pics and we can look.  sounds like some nosema, but there might be other things. they can also poop and impressive amount when they first get out.   post as many frame pics as you can of both stores, brood, and bees.  were the bees dead in a cluster or on the bottom of the box?

i don't want to start this debate all over again, but i think ventilation in winter is highly over-rated.  better to tip the entire box for run off than to open it.  however, if your temps were above freezing and there were plenty of bees in there, cracking it open probably didn't kill them outright.

we await your pics  Wink
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2011, 07:41:19 PM »

we await your pics  Wink

Just don't send us that image shack crap!  grin

(that was for kathy!  Wink )

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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2011, 08:04:14 PM »

who can I send the pictures to so they can post for me?

how do I salvage the frames and wax with the dead brood in them?
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rgy
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2011, 08:09:27 PM »

Acebird, in the late fall I added small shims in the back of the top.  First year beeks and we did learn a lot, but man I thought we were going to make it even with our screw ups.
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2011, 08:13:23 PM »

Give the frames to a hive, they will clean it up.
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rgy
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2011, 08:18:56 PM »

dead hive 001.jpg
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2011, 08:30:48 PM »

You have to upload your pictures to a hosting site like Photobucket.com then post the link with the IMG prefix.
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2011, 08:31:11 PM »

you should be able to post your own.  you can use the image shack button at the bottom of the post box, or put them some place like picasa and post them from there.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2011, 09:03:15 PM »

image shack has out smarted the two of us.
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kathyp
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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2011, 09:07:21 PM »

just click on the button below and put the location of your picture in the box that has the little file next to it with the browse button.  that browse button will let you find the pictures on your computer (you need to know where you put them) and you can just click the picture and the location will go in the box.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2011, 09:40:06 PM »

got some of them to photobucket, now how do I post withthe IMG prefix as stated above?
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Tommyt
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« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2011, 09:56:11 PM »

{img}your photobucket address here{/img}

Use the above and replace{  } with [ ]
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« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2011, 09:57:10 PM »

Photo bucket is easy. Go to the pic you want and hover your curser over the pic. A window will open under it. Click on the bottom line where it says IMG CODE. Then paste onto your reply. It will open the pic when you submit.
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« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2011, 09:23:43 AM »

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image shack has out smarted the two of us.

Everytime I go to a pic from image shack my virus software goes nuts so I kill my web browser and reopen to make sure.  I personally would avoid image shack on this site.  Follow iddee's instructions, piece of cake.  Note: if you are too new you can't post pics.

There is a lot to learn as a newbie and unfortunately a lot to unlearn making it a difficult hobby to master.  Most hobbies costs large sums of money to be active.  With bees you have the option of going cheap or spend to your hearts content.  Like all hobbies though it is easy to get hooked.  Don't look back at your failures, look forward to your successes.
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« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2011, 12:09:22 PM »

The shims "in back" likely caused a cross draft, bad for honey bees.  Why did you drill a hole in the brood box??

thomas
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« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2011, 09:49:29 PM »

tbeek, i drilled a hole in the upper brood box to give another exit ( snow) and for ventilation.  I did not wrap the hive just left it the way it was and  and I live in Michigan so it has been  well below freezing. they made it until just last week when the temps. got intto the mid 30's (occasionally mid 40's-. when I checked on them two weeks ago) into the low 20's for night.
  every thing has been the same since Oct. and all of the sudden runny poop out of the elevated side then dead the next week. 

I started two hives last yr and this was the strong one that I got one super of honey off of.  the one next to it had problems all summer and I ended up combining it with a nuc to get them through winter.  that weak hive is still alive with the same upper hole and no wrap. but it does not have the poop stains.

will work on pics tomorrow.

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T Beek
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« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2011, 05:59:04 AM »

No two colonies are the same, just like people Wink  Instead of drilling holes in brood boxes, if you want to use top entrances, just notch out your inner covers 1/4 x 2 inches.  Put notched side facing down on same side as bottom entrance (inner covers used to come this way).

A 3/4 inch hole in a brood box during Michigan winter is a pretty big hole and will let in a lot of cold air which then drafts out the BACK side after crossing over your bees.  Shimming up the BACK (of top cover, right?) will cause cross-drafts and a stressful life for bees and you.

After 5-6 months inside it can look like a poop explosion when they can finally get out.

An older Wink beek recently told me "a hive may not be dead in Spring but may just appear so"  You wouldn't be the first beek to dump a live colony that was thought to be dead Cry.  Some beeks won't dump a "presumed" dead hive until temps reach into the 60's and they know for sure.  Just something to think about, especially a young colony and one that can be assumed came from the South for a Northern Winter.  Good luck with posting your pics.  

thomas
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« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2011, 06:39:21 AM »

A 3/4 inch hole in any brood box is not too much.

It may be too much if you add it in the fall. But if your hives are configured with a hole in the brood box and the bees are allowed to arrange, fill, and manipulate openings as they see fit, then they will do just fine.

I have upper holes in almost all my second brood boxes. These allow ventilation with a full draft through the entire hive. An upper entrance (not to be confused with a top entrance) will still allow a trapped area of heat, that benefits early spring brood rearing, and allows the bees to cluster draft free at the top of the hive when they need too.

For me, much of the top entrance advice (which goes against what bees favor in site selection) is hysteria and hype brought about by beekeepers feeding syrup in the fall and causing this unnatural moisture condition to begin with.

In nature, bees prefer a lower entrance. And in situations where a tree may offer multiple entrances which you will see many times, the bees build comb in various configurations (not straight) that inhibit drafts, and allow the bees to control moisture in ways that a modern hive does not allow.
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« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2011, 06:56:52 AM »

Top entrance hysteria, oh my!

 Wink

thomas
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« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2011, 07:12:06 AM »

Top entrance hysteria, oh my!

 Wink

thomas

Yeah, it's in the same class as the commercial guys who all tune in to the same grape vine, and if one has come up with a "new homebrew" they must all run out and follow suit. Or perhaps the folks calling up thinking that if they do not get packages or nucs by the middle of April, that they have missed the season.

Well maybe not hysteria...but colorful words never hurt to prop up a conversation.  grin My definition of "love" probably means different than others. I think hype and hysteria is in the same example. What I see as hype and hysteria is not the same for all. Be glad for that.  Wink Unless you really want to be like Mike!  shocked

The "lack" of a top entrance never in my opinion, never caused a colony death yet...if not for circumstances caused by beekeepers in the first place.
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« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2011, 07:44:38 AM »

BjornBee: I think "improper" use and understanding of top entrances certainly causes many issues for beeks and bees.   I also think the above is such a case (I could also be wrong).  Newbeeks are provided a minimum of pertinant info generally specific to where bees and equipment are purchased (is this on purpose?  I don't know) and then bombarded with conflicting information (most of it useful, but definately conflicting).  The discovery, especially for Northern beeks (my opinion), that all beekeeping is local (now where did I hear that from? Lips Sealed) particularly as it pertains to weather, is huge, was for me anyway, but I started this latest adventure with some fairly bad habits and false asumptions to begin with, learned from a big outfit 30 years ago.

As you well know, top entrances have been around for a very long time and many old (Northern and Southern) 'minimal treatment' beeks swear by them.  That's good enough for me.  I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything (not my style), just passing on tried and true methods that have worked for many, if not all Wink.

thomas
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« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2011, 08:16:17 AM »

thomas,
The books and history of beekeeping is littered with the "tried and true" methods.

Replacing swarm queens and breeding for low swarming, which goes against what nature desires for survival.

Breeding for low propolis producing colonies, which is now questionable for hive health.

Using wood in hives, especially 1 inch (or less) wooden telescoping covers that have an r-value of 1, which is drastically different that almost all selected cavities in nature.

These are three "tried and true" beekeeping items, that over time is changing. there are many more.

Back 30 years ago, you could almost do anything to bees, and they would survive. Beekeepers did little more than put supers on, take them off, and treat for AFB. If you lost 10%, that was a bad year.

Unfortunately, things have changes. Many more compounding factors effecting bees health.

And with yearly losses across the country, I think understanding the bees traits and abilities, their preferences to what they want in the wild, can benefit beekeeping.

"tried and true" gave us, and continue to give us, old queens as beekeepers think having 5 year old clipped queens is good, thinking that no propolis in the hive is good, that 1 inch tops are good for hives, and continued chemical contamination of hives is the only solution. Sorry, the bee clubs are full of old-timers still stating "We have been doing the same thing for 40 years!", when asked about natural comb, SBB, treatments, and many equipment options.

Fact is, studies by T. Seeley that date back to the 70's, have shown that bees prefer cavities with lower entrances. Why do you think this is? Bees do in fact benefit from trapped air for brood rearing in the upper chamber. that is what they seek in cavities for feral colonies.

30 years ago, many things did not matter. The bees survived. Today, I want to give them all the advantages that they can be given. And for me, I start by understanding what bees do in nature, like propolis the interior of the hive, replace queens almost every year, mostly live in thicker wooden cavities in oak tress with a greater r-value, and select a lower entrance site.

Now do we manage bees in a very unnatural way with our beekeeping goals of honey production, etc. Sure. Most feral bees never reach 50,000 strong. and nobody is placing supers on top of the hive. So can bees benefit from propping the hive open a bit for the summer? Sure. But is seems that this "tried and true" method of placing a simple stone under the cover, went to a top entrance when a few perhaps "lazy" beekeepers thought taking the stone back out was too much work. Or maybe they wanted to be different and decided to "build a better mouse trap", and the next thing you know, top entrances were being promoted. Bees may need some ventilation in mid-summer, but not all year round by top entrances.

"Tried and true" worked for about anything years ago before all the problems came round. Today, tried and true, has been found to be a detriment to colonies by many things. Many of which are still being touted by old beekeepers who would never consider changing a thing in their hives.
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« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2011, 08:37:44 AM »

C'mon Mike, I agree with much (most) of what you say and remain an avid supporter of your efforts, but........Why should/would anyone change (modify?) if their methods are still successful, after 50 years or more beekeeping?

And its not just the history books, its this place (and others like it), where it seems many rely entirely on the advise recieved, conflicting or not, because they've been taught to get info here (on the web) rather than seeking it in books.  I guess what I'm trying to say is "its no wonder so many are confused" and no wonder beeks and bees suffer because of it.

Not to change the subject but i'm very interested in your take (and others) on allowing bees to occasionally swarm for a natural varroa control, may need another thread for this though.

thomas
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« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2011, 09:07:34 AM »

C'mon Mike, I agree with much (most) of what you say and remain an avid supporter of your efforts, but........Why should/would anyone change (modify?) if their methods are still successful, after 50 years or more beekeeping?

That is the problem. I've been to three different club meetings. I would question with the losses many are reporting, if "still successful" was a proper viewpoint.  Wink  But no matter the losses, you pencil some in for a 50% package replacement order every year, and watch as they claim they have all the answer, and refuse to consider change from anything they had been doing for the past 30-40 years.  rolleyes

Not to change the subject but I'm very interested in your take (and others) on allowing bees to occasionally swarm for a natural varroa control, may need another thread for this though.
thomas


I can not speak about others, but I have never suggested letting bees swarm. I do however, try to understand the bees natural yearly requeening and the benefits they seek by having successful colonies be headed by first year queens.

I also try to suppress the swarming urge until it is beneficial to me to have selected queens, and at a time when such things as honey production is not lessened.

Knowing that nature replaces queens in feral colonies every year, just means that I also try to replace all my queens also. I see a huge winter survival rate impact by using first year queens.

Splitting, replacing queens, and taking my honey off is better done right after the main flow in late June. That is a good time to break the mite cycle going into the fall season, I have good queens at that time, and the supers come off for doing splits.

Having four year old queens, or expecting to stop all swarming, are not my goals. Understanding what gives me (and the bees) the best chance of surviving is.

BTW....I also don't think that a beekeeper that does have a hive swarm, that they are lazy as claimed by others.  grin
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« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2011, 09:35:31 AM »

Well said, thanks again for your insight Mike.

thomas
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« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2011, 11:48:39 AM »

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« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2011, 11:51:06 AM »

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« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2011, 11:51:48 AM »

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« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2011, 12:17:00 PM »

you got the pics up!!  smiley

T Beek, a distinction needs to be made between upper entrance and ventilation.  lots of people do fine with an upper entrance.  i can even see an advantage in a heavy snow area.  after all, bees in a tree don't have a front porch to catch snow and block things up.  however, ventilation for moisture control defies common sense.  first, most moisture problems come from feeding to late and having uncapped syrup in the hive.  other moisture problems are cause by things like opening the hive continually to "check" and breaking the propolis seal that would keep much weather out.  

the bees work very hard to close everything up for winter, yet we insist on ventilating them.  
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2011, 01:21:11 PM »

It's hard to tell from the pics if all that white milky looky stuff is brood larvae which is a the core of your answer.  The bees broke cluster, went into a brood rearing mode and were then caught out of cluster.  That there is both brood and capped stores left in the hive means starvation wasn't a factor here.

If the top was proped open, as the defication signs on that one corner suggest, after the bees began stirring as the weather warmed, that could be a contributing cause.  Providing ventilation, vent or upper entrance, must be done in the early stages of hive development in order to be successful.  The bee need time to organize the interior of the hive to allow for that vent/entrance.  In other words,especially if, the bees have overwintered with a sealed top and the top is either proped open or a hole is drilled in it for ventilation/entrance sake, then any cold snap could kill off the bees because they aren't aclimated to that vent/entrance.
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« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2011, 01:35:48 PM »

hole was drilled in mid to late fall and top propped at same time so they had both all winter long and were very sucessfull.  When I checked two weeks ago they were doing fine except the poop on the side and around that second hole.  (i'll get a pic of that)  I took the cover off and there were dead bees up on the inner cover and a lot of the poop but not as bad as the pic.  I did get stung and dropped the top back down so maybe that broke the cluster completely:(  Huh  

working from the side with the poop.

frame#    poop side,                                                       other side

1             empty                                                               1/4 honey 1/2 brood
2           1/2 h 1/4 brood not capped                              1/2 h  1/4 brrod
3          1/4 hon 1/8 brood                                             1/8 honey
4     little honey                                                            empty
5    emty     poop on top                                                empty poop; on top
6   emptpy poop on top                                                  little brood little honey
71/2 hon  1/4 brood                                                      1/3 hon  1/4 brood
8  emptpy                                                                1/2 brood   1/4 honey
9  3/4 honey                                                                 full honey
10   full honey                                                              not built out
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« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2011, 01:48:38 PM »

my other hive is out and about today so I took over 3 frames of fall honey and put out for them to rob.  I put it were the dead hive was only about 2 feet away from the other hive.  This should be OK correct??

So from the dead hive I have the list above and 10 built out brood frames from the bottom box that are all empty.
I have 3 five frame nucs comming in April.  Can I put the nuc and 5 of the above honey frames in the bottom brood box or should I put the Nuc and 5 of the empty brood frames in and then when they get that 80% full put some of the above honey frames in the second brood box?  I  guess the question is, "how do I utilize these larger frames, some with honey/dead brood and some empty bottom brood box frames?"
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charlotte
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Location: WI


« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2011, 04:00:21 PM »

Here's what I would do...

The brood frames from the nuc--put on one end of your box.  Then put a couple of empty brood frames, from your old hive next to that.  Lastly, put a few frames of honey in next to that & up to the opposite side of the box.  Theory here is that the queen will move toward the center of the box to lay, as the original nuc brood frames hatch out--(they are against the side) the bees will then want to fill them with food.  (Probably syrup, as you may have to feed some)  I would give it a couple of weeks, see how things are, then add you other drawn out frames in a new box above your first one. If you still have frames with honey, put those in divided among the two sides. 

Unless it's pretty cold in your area yet (days not above 60), then put your nuc frames with brood in the center.  I would leave a frame of empty on either side so the queen has somewhere to go.  Then put honey frames on either side up to the box walls. 

The main thing is to be sure your queen has some space to lay next to her current brood, and I like to put my honey frames in where the bees would normally want to store the honey--toward the outside.  By using your old frames your bees will build up faster since they will have less to draw out & you will have to feed less since you have frames of honey. 

I would also definately treat your nuc with Fumagilin for Nosema, esp since it looks suspicious that you last hive had it & you are using that equip.  I know there are many people that will disagree with that, but that's what I would do.
Good Luck.


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